Last week I hosted a spoken word open mic and book launch in collaboration with my poetry students at AD.DAR Culture Center. The evening saw poets from all over the world read poetry in Arabic, Farsi, English, Turkish and so on, even though I was hosting it was so beautiful to see so many people come together and celebrate the written and spoken word and power of speech. Especially when so many of us are coming from broken homelands and countries where ours and so many others’ voices have been silenced.

We released a chapbook of some poems with help from our buddies at Spoken Word Istanbul also.

mother tongues

Here’s one of the poems.

At times I wonder the change I’ve been through

Though at times I wonder what things didn’t change too

And so on I lived

Unaware of my hidden flaws,

Unviewed by, but yet viewed by I,

So this trip goes on,


Like a train going endlessly.

 Nawrus Almatar


Facts written from an airplane

. True enlightenment is, against all nurture and passed on tradition of worry, to find zen in utter chaos, to know the end of the game is always the same.

. Jews refer to moving to Israel as ascending, my airplane ascended in 20 seconds, I know this because I counted.

. Diversity is always something people will talk about in the absence of interest or conversation.

. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in the world.

. Gaziantep is one of the oldest cities in the world, to visit today you will find huge blocks of empty restaurants and wide flat roads, paved well enough to skateboard.

. The rules of the mile high club have changed drastically over the years, as have regulations, while as passengers we face higher restrictions, short people are now allowed to be stewards and in-flight magazines are published quarterly.

. Turkey could be a beautiful country.

.We are all breathing each other’s air,  doesn’t mean we share more than we think in these hours.

. The Icelandic people have no word for airplane, they refer to it as ‘metal bird’.

. Talin is a city I would like to visit for roof walking.

Facts written about Istanbul (from an airplane)

.  The mannequins on Dolapdere have more intensity than any person I have seen in Chiangir beside tired waiters.

.  The city seen at night through the window of a taxi you didn’t pay for when it’s cold outside looks almost magical and European, with beautiful streets. I’m sure outside, in some moments, it has felt that way too.

. American women move to Istanbul for the culture and stay for the sex.

. 1 in 5 women who stay for the sex will deny this and say they don’t know why they stayed,      this is the reason.

. Despite moving a million miles a second, the rate of change is non existant.

. Ataturk believed Turks to come from the lost continent of Mu.

. Istanbul has more rainfall than London, Dublin and Brussels with none of the reputation.


I’ve been gone a while eh? I spent a little time getting a little lost.

A lots been going on since we last spoke, I’d been rolling and without a bed for almost a year and spending much time dancing on grass and under stars and over sand and among skyscrappers and bunkers and hearing sweet things. 

In short I moved to Barcelona, stayed there a while, loved it. Really really loved it. Maybe it’s even my spiritual home. Then I itched my way back to England to perform at/get happy at festivials just for the romance at end of the summer when BCN got really hot in a bad way and England got really hot in a good way. Then I moved to Istanbul……

that would bring me to now.

I’ve lived here for 2 months now, feels like less, feels like time moves slow around here and also very fast and I have not seen a thing and it is huge and my cameras are filling up with photos and there is never a second to get them developed. Not a second.

In list form it went something like this



. Paris

. Bristol

. Barcelona

. Glastonbury

. Barcelona

. Secret Garden Party


. Shambala


The photos should come in a similar order here’s a one from bcn.


A week or so ago I was on Ujima Radio with my good pal Vanessa.

I’m phoning in but there’s two poems on there from ‘Giving Indian’ and it’s nice to test out new material so please tell me what you think.

You may listen to this phone in here

I also received a sample of an amazing illustration of one of my poems for a magazine which will be out soon.

It’s all very exciting.


Cogs been turning

April 9, 2013

I’m working on a show called -‘Giving Indian’ (working title)

It’s a spoken word show about being a girl wandering around India by yourself and the sorts of things you find. (Other than yourself of course).

It’s about 3 and a half about of 7 poems finished and will most certainly be ready to tour this summer.

Email me for bookings 🙂



March 11, 2013

This is a poem I wrote recently about the ten day silent meditation retreat I went to in India, my watch used to beep every half hour, during the days we would have to have our eyes closed for hours at a time and I could try to record how far through we were by listening for the beeps. After the retreat ended many people came up to me and thanked me for keeping the time.

The poem along with an interview with yours truely is being used in a feature about spoken word and I was lucky enough to receive an illustration to accompany my words. Isn’t it lovely?



Keep those watches beeping for everyone, so we know what time it is.
We are on the path to enlightenment
Some of us wear wedding rings
You must work diligently, and you are bound to be successful, bound to be successful
Some of us put salt in our tea
Some of us watch the clock even though we wear a watch
Some of us hold out soap, some of us look like we are Russian.
We are addicted to our misery.
Some of us are too horny.
We must train our minds
Some of us recite friends episodes in our heads
You are bound to be successful
Some of us want cigarettes
Some of us want coffee and food we can bite
Some of us escape to climb trees and look at the men
Some of us start rumours about snakes
Accept the law of impermanence
Concentrate your mind, remain equanimous
Remain objective.
Some of us cant sleep.
Remain objective to all sensations.
Some of us feel chanting like a drill
You are bound to be successful
Work to untie the knots
Some of us want our cravings back
Some of us want nothing more than to look the Indian girl in the eye and say it’s okay, that you get up a lot, my legs are killing me but it’s a good pain.
May all beings be happy
May all beings accept the law of impermanence
May all beings observe their respiration
And work diligently on our journey.
Some of us cry when its over
Take off our wedding rings and say it didn’t help.
Some of us talk like old friends in the breakfast hall about how we want to be loved.
Some of us take photos of our prison
Group shots of people we don’t know
Some of us complain that the European girls hug too much, that we’re not allowed to touch.
Some of us count shadows at night time.
Work diligently, you are bound to be successful.
May all beings be happy.
I put salt in my tea and say I missed the sun.
Some of us keep out watches beeping for everyone

So they know what time it is.


June 5, 2012

Over the past few months I’ve been taking portraits for my latest photo project ‘Poets at Work’

As a spoken word artist/photographer photographing poets seemed like an obvious choice of project but my intentions behind this series were more about exploring a process that is largely undocumented and unexamined.

 As a young writer growing up idolising the cool factor of the writers working in Paris in the 20s and beat generation in the 50s. I’ve seen many a photo of Jack Keroac at the typewriter looking as badass as any rockstar.

In many ways, I consider performance poets to be the new rock stars of literature. They are entertaining, honest and in the most part accessible, yet all we see of them is immediate. Their work is presented to an audience in a theatrical manner. However honest and sincere the performance it is always easy to sit back and accept their work as talented showmanship and never consider the process behind the words.

It interests me to think that a poem performed with the confidence and grace many talenented poets possess could have been written under a duvet with a full ashtray and tears in the eyes of the poet. Just because poems are often performed in an extrovert manner doesn’t mean the idea wasn’t convinced in a more introverted and personal environment.

Similarly I find the process itself fasinating. How do people write?

With laptop, notebook, Dictaphone? In your home, library, train, coffee shop, the street?

During my project I have found more and more reason to document these poets. The way they write is not only fascinating but encourages to look closer at every piece of stationary, setting and cup of coffee in this world and their collective potential to inspire creation.

So far I have photographed 5 poets and am giving a sneak preview of my work so far.

Day 240

April 23, 2012

Sally J.

The latest in my poet project.

Day 327

March 22, 2012

I’ve been for a dirty weekend in London,

and by dirty I mean smokey.

I’ve got a bit of a crush on that place.

I went to a banquet, re-visited the scene of the crime, and completed my first London gig at Depresstival Presents which was all kinds of fun….and then there was that sunset.

Camera wise I’m GOING TO finish my book if it kills me before the month is up….

and I’m thinking of buying one of these….

and now for today’s photograph.

welcome to spring!

Diana +

Day 323

March 4, 2012


This is from a project I’ve started about performance poets doing their writing. I’ve shot 3 so far and these are the first of the results. Am very much looking forward to the rest.